Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cameroonian Connection

I had a fun experience today.

Since September I've been working on losing weight, and have been moderately successful in the endeavor.  This has precipitated a need for newer, smaller clothes, and has rendered my older, bigger clothes somewhat obsolete.  Since clothes for bigger (read: fat) people are, well, bigger than normal sized people clothes, they tend to be more expensive.  Significantly more expensive.  After all, there's more of us to cover, so more raw materials are needed.

Because of the expensive nature of my clothes, I figured I'd try to sell some of the ones I'm not using anymore on Craigslist, and kind of have my very own fat guy's online garage sale.  So I posted an ad with several pieces of clothes that I don't can't wear anymore.

A couple of days ago, I got a bite.  I connected with a gentleman through email and then by phone.  We made arrangements to meet together at my home today.  As I spoke with him on the phone, I noticed he had an accent, but I couldn't place it.  When he came to my door this afternoon, it was obvious that he was some sort of native African.  He was an older gentleman who walked with a cane and a limp, and had a great voice to go with his accent, and an overall very friendly disposition.

After he came in and started to look at the clothes I had for sale, and as the conversation flowed between the two of us, he shared that he was originally from Cameroon.  This tidbit led me to share with him that there were several people in my denomination who either had served as missionaries to Cameroon in the past, or were currently serving there.  We were able to talk a lot about it: why he left his native country, what he did there, his kids, his wife, his desire to some day return to his homeland, the cultural challenges he and his wife face in the U.S., and basically his whole life story.

It turns out that his reason for leaving Cameroon and his limp were related.  He was a journalist by trade in Cameroon, but got caught up in some scrapes with the current governmental regime in the country.  This led to some violence that was perpetrated against him, and in the process he injured his hip and would eventually need a replacement.  Immediately after this incident he left the country and never looked back.  His love for his homeland was evident, and he talked quite a bit about wanting to go back...someday.

As he talked some more about his native country, I relayed a bit of information that I had learned about Cameroon from some of our NAB missionaries when they have visited our church.  I told him about Dennis and Nancy Palmer, and their work at the Banso Baptist Hospital in Mbingo, Cameroon.

When I said "Mbingo" his eyes lit up, and he exclaimed, "You know Cameroon!"  It turns out that he knows all about the hospital and had a lot of positive things to say about it.  It was fun to talk about Cameroonian missions with this guy whom I've never met, who lived half a world away, but was now finding something in common with me in my living room.  It was fun.

As he left, he said, "I hope we meet again someday," and I said the same to him.  It was a fun meeting, and to think, it was brought about by nothing more than fat clothes and Craigslist!

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